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US Visa Interview Waiver Questions Updated in Appointment Booking System

Most of you know that the US Department of State has updated its guidance and extended the US Visa interview waiver(aka Dropbox) options for non-immigrant visa applicants for 2024 and beyond if they meet specific criteria. The new guidance was effective from January 1st, 2024.

As part of the above guidance, the US Visa Appointment Booking system is updated with a new set of questions based on the updated guidance. In this article, we will review those questions, with screenshots of the same, and give more details on how they work in the system.

If you do know the exact details of how the US Visa interview waiver options would work with the new guidance for 2024 and beyond, you must read the article: US Visa Interview Waiver Extended for 2024 & beyond

New Questions added for US Visa Interview Waiver Eligibility Check

Like before, after you create an account with the US Visa online appointment booking system, it will take you through a set of questions to verify your Dropbox or interview waiver eligibility.

Below are the new questions and how the flow works with the new visa interview waiver questionnaire in the US Visa online appointment booking system for India at USVisaScheduling.com These questions may look different in other countries

New Question 1: Checking Nationality & Residence

The first question that any user would get is to check if the applicant is a citizen of that country or a lawful resident. They want to ensure you meet the first essential criteria to be eligible for an interview waiver. This question is new and was not present in the previous Dropbox eligibility criteria wizard.

On the USVisaScheduling.com website for booking appointments in India, the exact question reads, “Are you a citizen of India or a lawful resident of India?

Below is the screenshot of the question as it looks in the online appointment booking system

Are you citizen of India a lawful resident question on USVisaScheduling
Are you a citizen of India a lawful resident question on USVisaScheduling.com

If the applicant answers yes to the above, then it takes you to the next question that checks their previous US Visa issuance details

New Question: Check Previous US Visa Issuance (except B1/B2, B1 or B2)

The other main criterion of the new guidance is to have a previously issued US Visa other than B1/B2 or B2 Visa. This question comes right after the above question.

The question on USVisaScheduling.com reads, “Do you have a previous U.S. visa in any visa class (except B1/B2, B1 or B2) issued on or after your 14th birthday?“, and looks like this in the below screenshot online.

This is a new question as well as they have added an explicit clause in the parenthesis asking that the previously issued visa must be other than visitor (B2) or business visa (B1/B2, B1)

Do you have a previous US Visa issued in any visa class except B1/B2 or B2 - USVisaScheduling.com
Do you have a previous US Visa issued in any visa class except B1/B2 or B2 – USVisaScheduling.com

If the applicant answers yes to the above, the system will ask subsequent questions about whether the visa is valid or not. The exact question reads, “Is your prior visa still valid?

Is your prior visa still valid on USVisaScheduling.com
Is your prior visa still valid on USVisaScheduling.com

If you answer “No” to the above, this is when you get the subsequent question on expiry in the past 48 months question.

New Question: Check if the previous Visa Expired within the last 48 months

One of the other main criteria is to have your previous US visa expired within the last 48 months. This question is related to that. The exact question reads, “Did your previous visa (except B1/B2, B1 or B2) expire within the last 48 months?” and looks like it in the screenshot below.

This is a new question; they ask about the 48-month expiration and highlight that it cannot be B1/B2, B1, or B2. This applies to anyone applying for US visa stamping in a category other than B1/B2, B1 or B2. Also, the question clarifies that you should submit documents at least seven days before you hit the 48-month expiration.

Did your previous visa - except B1 b2 - expire within the last 48 months on USVisaSchedling.com

After this, you would get a general requirement question that used to be asked before as well, and it reads, “Was your most recent U.S. visa lost, stolen, canceled, revoked, or marked CWOP?” This is an existing question and nothing has changed here.

Was your most recent visa lost, stolen, cancelled, revoked or marked CWOP
Was your most recent visa lost, stolen, cancelled, revoked or marked CWOP on USVisaScheduling.com

If you answer ‘No’ to the above, you will get the subsequent question asking about previous refusals of your visa.

New Question: Ask about Visa Refusals in last 48 months

One of the mandatory requirements from the new guidance is not to have a US Visa rejection in the past and, if they had it they should have overcome it with an approval.

The exact question reads “Have you been refused a U.S. visa within the last 48 months?“, and looks like in the below screenshot. This is a new question.

Have you been refused a US Visa within the last 48 months
Have you been refused a US Visa within the last 48 months

If the user answers “No” to the above, it will give a decision saying you are eligible for interview waiver. But, if you answer “Yes”, you will be asked another question related to the refusal.

New Question: Ask if the Visa Refusals was later overcome

One of the requirements for the visa interview waiver is to overcome previous visa refusal with approval. The system asks a question related to the same.

The exact question reads, “Did your most recent application result in you being issued the visa?“, and looks like in the screenshot below. This is a new question as well.

Did your most recent application result in you being issued the visa
Did your most recent application result in you being issued the visa

If you answer “Yes”, to the above, you would get a confirmation saying you are eligible for dropbox. If not, you would not be eligible for dropbox.

If you qualify for the interview waiver (Dropbox), you would get a confirmation that exactly reads “Congratulations! You qualify for the Interview Waiver. You will need to schedule an appointment to visit a document drop-off location to submit your documents…” and looks like in the below screenshot.

Congratulations you qualify for the Interview Waiver Message
Congratulations you qualify for the Interview Waiver…”

That’s it, folks; these are the new questions added and what the overall flow looks like. Overall, this is a welcome change for many applicants, who are already in the US on a visa other than B1/B2 and looking for visa stamping. This will help many F1 international students, J1 applicants, H4 or L2 Dependents, and L1 applicants.

What do you think of the new questions? Share your feedback in the comments section below.

   

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40 Comments

  1. Hi , I have a valid B1/B2 visa which was issued in 2019 . Now i m applying for L1b visa . m i eligible for interview waiver program?

    Reply
  2. Context
    “If you were previously issued a U.S. tourist visa that expired in the past 48 months (4 years), you can apply to renew your visa without an interview” “If you are renewing a visa, your previous visa can be no more than 48 months expired. Please select a “submission date” atleast 7 calendar days before that 48 month deadline.”

    Problem
    We had submitted a B1/B2 vistors visa interview waiver (drop box) for one of our parent in July 2022 through the regular visa application process and submitted MRV, the visa application fees. The previous visa B1/B2 stamped on passport had expired Dec 2018. The parent had visited USA on several occasions for 10 years on the same B1/B2 visitors visa. prior to that and there was no violation like overstay etc. The visa application system allowed to submit a visa interview waiver as the visa expired date on the passport was within 4 years (48 months) of expiration. In other words, the B1/B2 visa had expired Dec 2018, so 48 months would be Dec 2022. So, as long as the application was made before that, i.e. July 2022, it should go through. However, when we submitted application online in July 2022, the earliest availability for visa dropbox date at Kolkata consulate which we could get was Jan 5, 2023 (which is 4 years after the expiration date of Dec 2022 on passport). Our “application date” was well within 48 months expiration rule, but the “interview/dropbox show up date” wasn’t. On Jan 5, 2023, we showed up at Kolkata consulate, however we were sent back. We were told “submission date” means when you show up for dropbox. “Submission date” doesn’t mean your “online application submission date”. Our “submission “”dropbox/interview” date” of Jan 5, 2023 had crossed the 4 year mark (Dec 2022) of visa expiration date in the passport of Dec 2018. The visa application system allowed us to “submit” the B1/B2 visa application and take our MRV fees and allowed a dropbox date chosen after 48 months of expiration – without any error or prompt. The system doesn’t clearly say “submission date” means when you show up for dropbox and not application submission date. We were asked to reapply. But, this time we could manage to get an interview date only on March 2024. As you know, the MRV – visa fees paid before Oct 1, 2022, was set to expire Sep 2023. So, our interview date for March 2024 was also cancelled. Our MRV fees are forfeited.

    Reply
  3. Hi, I came to USA in L1B visa in 2016 and never left US since then. Now am planning to visit India. I moved to H1B in 2021 is valid till 2026. For the interview waiver question “Is your prior visa still valid?” what should I select? Yes or No?

    Reply
  4. My L1-Blanket Visa was refused in Jan 2014. A Month Later, my firm applied for L1-Individual which was subsequently approved in April 2014. (Moral of story: US Visa was refused once but later approved)

    After that I got H1-B US Visa Stamped (In Person as well as Dropbox)
    Currently i have H-1B US Visa on my passport. (expired in March 2021)

    Going for India, Am i eligible for dropbox? (I had visa refused but not in last 48 months) it was refused almost 10 year back.

    Reply
  5. Hi, I am not getting the interview waiver questions even though I am eligible according to the new criteria. What can I do?

    Thanks
    Benny

    Reply
    • HI, even I am not getting the following question “Do you have a previous U.S. visa in any visa class (except B1/B2, B1 or B2) issued on or after your 14th birthday ? O Yes O No” even though I’m eligible. Were you able to resolve it?

      Reply
  6. Hi All,

    I am looking for a drop box slot for renewing our h1b/h4 visas at the Hyderabad location. During scheduling, I can see just the Chennai location, with the last slot being May 1st week.

    Has anyone scheduled h1b visa dropbox slots for the Hyderabad location? If so, please let me know how you were able to reserve the slots for this location.

    Thank you.

    Reply
  7. Hello, my last visa expired over 48 months ago. Do I need to get an appointmnet for biomentrics and in-person interview or just for in-person interview?

    Reply
  8. My H1-B visa got expired on 11-AUG-2020. Am I still eligibile to go for Interview Waiver/ Drop box if I take appointment today as 15-FEB-2024?

    Reply
  9. I have a H1b visa ( no stamping ). I only have i797A with expiration of September 2024.
    IF i want to get a b2 visa in canada, will i be eligible for the interview waiver ? I am confused because I dont have an official h1b visa on my passport

    Reply
  10. What should I answer for the below question for my minor child 10 year old. She had valid visa till 2021 after which she had change of status and didn’t travel to India.

    Do you have a previous U.S. visa in any visa class (except B1/B2, B1 or B2) issued on or after your 14th birthday?

    I’m planning to say “yes”? is it ok? any personal experiences would help.

    Reply
    • Hi Krishna , can you please update is it fine if we provide it as yes. I’m also in similar situation – my kid is 5 year old and she has valid visa till August 2024. I was confused if i need to provide yes or no for this question.

      Reply
  11. What should I answer for the below question for my minor child 10 year old. She had valid visa till 2021 after which she had change of status and didn’t travel to India.

    Do you have a previous U.S. visa in any visa class (except B1/B2, B1 or B2) issued on or after your 14th birthday?

    Im planning to say “yes”? is it ok? any personal experiences would help.

    Reply
    • One more thing. In TravelDocs website i see the below criteria for minors less than 14 yrs old.

      Applicants under 14 years of age or over 79 years of age from the date of submission are exempt from the requirement of a nonimmigrant visa interview. All other rules, requirements and fees for those under 14 years of age and over 79 years of age remain in effect.

      Eligibility criteria for children under 14 years of age:

      I am applying before my 14th birthday;
      My most recent visa application was not refused;
      Either one or both of my parents hold a valid visa, or, one or both of my parents are applying for their visa renewal; and I am applying together for the same visa class;
      I am a Pakistani Citizen applying with a Pakistani Passport.

      I came to US on L1 visa. Change of status to H1B and changed employer (H1 transfer) in US. Now we are going to India for stamping. We are all going for stamping together.
      In this case it will be called renewal or first time visa?

      Based on that what i need to answer for interview waiver questionnaire as i have minor child 10 yrs old to be stamped for H4 in my application.

      Do you have a previous U.S. visa in any visa class (except B1/B2, B1 or B2) issued on or after your 14th birthday?

      Reply
  12. I am trying to apply for a B1/B2 visa from Canada and my previous F-1 visa expired less than 4 years ago (June 2020). But seems like questions in US visa portal in Canada are not updated. Any info on when that might happen?

    Reply
      • I am in the same boat. I am in Canada. My H1B hasnt even expired yet, I am applying for B1/B2 now. I am not seeing these new Qs popup.

        My situation. I applied in Sep 2023 and got an appointment for 2025. So after seeing this new guidance I cancelled my appointment. But now I am not seeing these questions.

        Per above, the questions have not been updated for Canada portal it seems? I have sent email to GDIT and will see how they respond.

        My guess is we should still say YES to older eligibility Qs of renewal in same class of category. Though technically we should say NO since now it will be cross classes ie H1 now B1.

        But if anyone has any details on how to solve it, please help!

        Reply
  13. I have a H1b visa expired 36 months ago and applying for B1/B2 this time. I fulfil all other interview waiver requirements.Still, I am not able to see the  question “Did your previous visa (except B1/B2, B1 or B2) expire within the last 48 months?Instead, I see the old question “Do you have a previous B1/B2 visa?” and if say no it takes me to OFC/Consular appt.Anyone else facing the same issue?

    Reply
      • I am in the same boat. I am in Canada. My H1B hasnt even expired yet, I am applying for B1/B2 now. I am not seeing these new Qs popup.

        My situation. I applied in Sep 2023 and got an appointment for 2025. So after seeing this new guidance I cancelled my appointment. But now I am not seeing these questions.

        Per someone above, the questions have not been updated for Canada portal it seems? I have sent email to GDIT and will see how they respond.

        My guess is we should still say YES to older eligibility Qs of renewal in same class of category. Though technically we should say NO since now it will be cross classes ie H1 now B1.

        Reply
  14. I have a H1b visa expired 36 months ago and applying for B1/B2 this time. I fulfil all other interview waiver requirements. Still, I am not able to see the  question “Did your previous visa (except B1/B2, B1 or B2) expire within the last 48 months?Instead, I see the old question “Do you have a previous B1/B2 visa?” and if say no it takes me to OFC/Consular appt. Anyone else facing the same issue?

    Reply
  15. Hi,
    After answering all interview wavier questions, I have selected drop box option and paid the visa fee. Now when I’m trying to schedule appointment, It’s asking me to select two dates for OFC date and consular date. I got confused here. Please help me if you know about this?

    Reply
    • Sai, I am also in the same situation. Do we need to select both OFC and Consulate dates for a drop box?

      Please let me know how you proceeded further for scheduling the drop box appointment.

      Thank you.

      Reply
  16. Hi,

    My H1b visa hasn’t expired. I’m applying for B1/B2 visa because I moved out of the country three months ago. Would I be eligible for visa interview waiver per the latest Jan 2024 visa update?

    Reply
  17. Hi,
    I have booked a dropbox appointment in November 2023 for January 2024, my last visa expired in 2019. When I booked the appointment the 48 months question was not part of the interview waiver questions and I was eligible for interview waiver.
    Will my dropbox appointment still be honored ? Your insight would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
      • Spoke with customer service and they have mentioned that if the appointment was booked last year.. then good to proceed. I have my appointment on 22nd.. will let you know once done with my appointment..

        Reply
          • I have the similar case too, applied in December 2023 that time there was no 48 months clause, interview date is 29th January 202. Please share your experience.

        • Hi, my visa expired in 2017. But when i booked the appointment in December 2023, i did not get the 48 months question and i was eligible for interview waiver. Got appointment for 8th March 2024. Any updates on your case?

          Reply
    • I am in a similar situation, i submitted my application on 12/29 and i was able to get a interview waiver appointment in march.
      I have a quick question to you,
      Had more than 48 months elapsed at the time you submitted your application for an appointment .

      Reply
  18. Hi,

    I submitted a DS160 application for the Hyderabad Location.

    While booking appointments, I was eligible for Dropbox and only the Chennai location shows Dropbox appointments availability. So, I booked Dropbox appointment with Chennai as the location.

    So, my DS 160 confirmation shows HYDERABAD and my Dropbox appointment shows CHENNAI.

    I am going to drop off documents at HYDERABAD location on Feb 01.

    Does this location mismatch is a problem for my dropbox appointment?

    Reply
  19. Hi Kumar, I have H1B stamping that’s valid till October 2024. I received 221g during my initial stamping which eventually got approved with Clearance received marked on the VISA. Am I eligible for dropbox? From the questions it seems like I am. Thank you.

    Reply
  20. Hi Kumar,

    My current visa got CWOP written by CBP officer while entering USA(not sure on reason of but I got that visa till Aug 2024 at consulate initially ) but CBP team given my I-94 till end of visa as per my passport which is till Aug 2024 in this scenario will I be eligible for Dropbox in India or in future stamping in USA ?

    Reply
  21. Hi,

    I have valid B1 VISA and located in India. My H1B petition is approved (firsttime) and I am applying for H4 for my kids (3years and 11 years) and wife, they dont have any stampings. Are they eligible for interview wavier?

    Reply

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